May 30, 2021

Tricky “healthy” choices

Tricky “healthy” choices

Categories: Nutrition

We are trying to follow a balanced diet, avoid gaining weight and – above all – be in good health. The process of changing eating habits often pushes us to “demonize” certain foods and turn to healthier variations of them. But how healthy are these options and why, at the end, they don’t help us reaching our goal?

Low-Fat Salad Dressing

The dressing that accompanies our salad is what can turn it from a balanced choice into a calorie bomb! Most “Light” versions are the same, they are often less “friendly” to our body and our health because their more pleasant taste comes through saturated fats, added sugar, glucose syrup, salt and flavor enhancers. Usually, the sugar content of just 2 tablespoons of “light” salad dressing corresponds to an individual chocolate!

Gluten-free products

While gluten-free products may be excellent for people who are gluten intolerant, there is no scientific background to the claim that a gluten-free diet will lead to weight loss. On the contrary, it may increase the fat, carbohydrates and glycaemic index of our meals, as gluten-free products usually contain higher quantities of sugar, fat and sodium, in order to compensate for the taste.

Dried fruits

Why not fresh? Dried fruits are certainly easier to carry, however they contain much more sugar. Fresh seasonal fruits are rich in unprocessed vitamins and fiber. Moreover, given that the small size of dried fruit often deceives us, the portion often exceeds our needs.

Frozen yoghurt

The notion that frozen yoghurt is healthier than ice cream may be overrated. Besides the fact that ingredients are of unknown quality, as there is no nutritional information, most of the times frozen yoghurt has the same sugar content as ice cream! Furthermore, our impression that we eat something with lower calories and fats leads us to include excessive quantities of additional toppings. Chocolate, jam, biscuits greatly increase the number of calories and saturated fats, while they do not provide our body with any nutritional value.

Honey

Many of us replace sugar with honey, either because we want to lose weight or because honey is healthier. It is a fact that honey is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which are beneficial for our body and that it has a lower glycaemic index than sugar. However, since it undergoes processing in order to be available in mass quantities, many of its beneficial properties are lost, while other sweeteners are added, such as glucose syrup. Both honey and sugar are sweeteners made up of carbohydrates and they should therefore be limited when a diet plan is followed.

Cereal bars

Cereal bars are a very popular snack between meals, especially within a diet plan. Unfortunately, in most cases not only do they not help us lose weight, but they also fill us with unnecessary calories, sugar and fat. Most cereal bars on the market are lacking in protein and are rich in sugars due to their ingredients, such as glucose syrup, chocolate, sugar and dried fruit. Moreover, the low calorie content indicated on their packaging is often misleading, as it refers to a very small quantity that usually corresponds to only 20-30 grams.

Smoothies

“Smoothies” or “smoothie bowls” first appeared on social media with colorful photos and fit models. This gradually created the impression that they could replace a meal and become our allies in our diets. But this is not exactly the case. It is true that fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are essential for our body; however, they cannot constitute a meal and it is certainly preferable to consume them whole and not as a juice, since this reduces their nutritional value. In most cases, smoothies are poor in protein, include added sugar and greatly exceed the calorie value of a burger, as they contain nuts, tahini, peanut butter, agave syrup and honey, which may be beneficial for our body, but must be consumed in limited quantities.